US 7137014 B2
In a chassis based server a programmed processor determines the fabric type that allows the maximum numbers of processor modules and switches to be powered on. The processor then allows power to be applied to processor modules and switches whose fabric type is the same as the determined fabric type.
1. Apparatus comprising:
n modules operatively mounted in said chassis, wherein n>1;
one of said modules being a management module;
a processor operatively mounted on one of said modules and (a) monitoring status including temperature, media type and voltage and (b) forwarding selected information to said management module;
m connectors operatively mounted in said chassis, wherein m>1 and said connectors provide interconnection between said n modules and between said n modules and a communications highway;
a first bus interconnecting said management module and the remainder of said modules;
a second bus connecting said management module to said connectors;
a high speed interconnect module operatively coupling said n modules to said m connectors; and
a controller which interrogates said modules and said connections and which, based upon responses received, causes selected ones of said modules and connectors to be placed in a power-on state; the controller including a power control processor and a program to be executed on said processor; the program having
a first set of instructions to determine fabric type of said modules and said connections;
a second set of instructions to analyze the fabric type information and determine the fabric configuration resulting in a maximum number of said modules and said connectors to be powered on; and
a third set of instructions to allow power on.
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The present invention relates to patent application Ser. No. 10/306,305 entitled “APPARATUS, METHOD AND PROGRAM PRODUCT FOR AUTOMATICALLY DISTRIBUTING POWER TO MODULES INSERTED IN LIVE CHASSIS”, by Jeffery Franke et al. filed concurrently herewith and assigned to the assignee of the present invention and is incorporated herein in its entirety.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to communications network in general and in particular to the type of network devices termed “Servers”.
2. Prior Art
The use of servers as devices within communications network is well known in the art. A server is equipment that makes available file, database, printing, facsimile, communications or other services to client terminals/stations with access to the network which the server serves. When the server permits client/terminal station access to external communications network it is sometimes known as a gateway. Servers are available in different sizes, shapes and varieties. Servers may be distributed throughout a network or they may be concentrated in centralized data centers. Notwithstanding, these differences there are certain inherent problems that must be addressed if the servers are going to function in an acceptable and reliable manner.
Probably, one of the most pressing problems associated with servers is manageability and particularly manageability as applied to chassis mounted servers. One aspect of manageability within this type of server relates to compatibility between components and power management. In particular, at what juncture of the configuration cycle should power be applied or allowed to be applied to components. Failure to apply power at the optimum juncture could result in damage to the components and down time for the server.
In past configurations a typical collection of servers would be connected to switches or hubs that require manual cabling and compatibility checking by an operator. Once these manual procedures were done power would then be applied to the servers and corresponding switches.
Manual compatibility checking and manual cabling are unacceptable due to the likelihood of human error which could result in damage to the equipment. In addition, operational cost is likely to be high due to cost associated with employing a service technician to perform the manual tasks enunciated above.
In view of the above problems a more efficient system and method is required to determine that interconnected subassemblies in the server are compatible before power is made available to said subassemblies.
One advantage of the present invention is that compatibility of modules is determined automatically, without the need for human intervention.
Another advantage of the present invention is that the likelihood of equipment damage due to the likelihood of human error is eliminated, since human intervention is not required.
Still another advantage of the present invention is the increased cost in operation due to cost associated with a technician is eliminated.
Still yet another advantage of the present invention is that the server can be placed at hard to reach locations. Because the system that performs the testing are built into the server and is activated as part of the initialization routine.
The present invention uses components and infrastructure already present in the server to perform the compatibility testing and powering of modules. In particular, a processor, preferably on the management module (MM), is programmed to determine the fabric type of modules and the fabric type of connectors providing interconnection between modules and communications highway or external networks. Once the information is gathered, the processor determines the dominant fabric type based upon a configuration that allows the most modules/connectors to be powered on. The processor causes power to be applied to all modules and connectors that are of the dominant fabric type. For example, if the dominant fabric type is ethernet then any module identifying itself as ethernet and communicating with ethernet protocol would be activated. Likewise, connectors identifying itself as ethernet are also activated with power.
The description which follows presupposes knowledge of data communications network, network devices, such as servers or the like, and protocols used for transmitting information within the network. As such, general information regarding any of the enunciated items will not be given herein. Suffice it to say that background information relative to these items can be found in the literature or on the following web sites and their successors. The web sites includes:
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It should also be noted that the configuration (i.e. interconnection) between processor modules and switches are only exemplary and should not be construed as a limitation on the scope of this invention. Since the way in which the connection is done depends on consideration outside the scope of the present invention. However, for purposes of disclosing the invention processor module 102 has two ports, one of which is connected to SW A, the other connected to SW B. Likewise, PM 104, PM 106, PM 108 through PM N has two ports, each of which is connected through communication links to SW A and SW B. The other PM from PM 110–PM N would also have two ports connected to SW A and SW B, respectively. However, in order not to clutter the figure the connections are not shown.
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Each daughter card and its associated processor modules have appropriate connectors for effectuating mating. As is shown in the figure, PM 102 has associated with it DC 102′. Likewise, PM 104 has DC 104′ associated with it and so forth for the other processor modules and the associated daughter cards within the server 100. Each of the daughter cards DC 102′ through DC N′ has two ports, each one of which is connected to SW C and SW D, respectively. Access to the external network or communication highway for the daughter card is provided through SW C and SW D. It should also be noted that the two output ports on each daughter card are only exemplary and does not limit the scope of the present invention. Each of the processor modules is also provided with a processor labelled P102″ to PN″. The function of the processor on each of the processor modules include power management (i.e. activate or deactivate power on the PM on which it resides). The on board processor also collects other information such as temperature, etc. on its related PM and communicates with the processor 112′ on the management module over 485 Bus. As will be explained hereinafter, it is the communication over the 485 bus that the processor 112′, in the management module, obtains information regarding the type of PM module that is present in the server 100. Likewise, information from SW A through SW B is exchanged and the I2C bus with the processor 112′ in the management module 112. The processor 112′ uses the information gathered to decide the dominant fabric type of the configuration. As used in this document dominant fabric type relates to the type of SW and PM that allow the maximum number of PMs and SWs to be powered on.
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Having described the details of an implementation according to the teachings of the present invention an example of how the invention functions with respect to a predefined configuration will now be given.
For purposes of the example the following switch configuration will be assumed. With respect to
In summary, the invention solves a manageability problem in a chassis with multiple blades and various interconnect connectors. An interconnect connector includes, but is not limited to an Ethernet switch, Fibre Channel Switch, or Serial port concentrator. Each blade or processor module (PM) in the chassis may have a daughter card that may communicate over the interconnect connector. The daughter cards, PM and the interconnect connectors must be of the same type, for compatibility to power on. Initially the types and quantities of interconnect connectors and PM are unknown. The Management Module (System Management Module) communicates to each PM over a bus to identify the connection type and the daughter card if it exists. The Management Module also communicates to each interconnect connector over a bus to identify the type of the interconnect connector, if it exists. The management module will then compute which servers and interconnect connectors will be granted power permission, or be powered on. The management module will use the bus to communicate to each PM that it has permission to power on and use the interconnect fabric, and communicate to each interconnect connector to power on. This gives a purpose to the interconnect fabric so that only compatible components can communicate on it. This is an ideal solution for a chassis of blade servers as it provides a built in high speed interconnect fabric which can be used for multiple purposes.
Processor blades provide the processor, memory, hard disk storage and firmware of an industry standard server. In addition, they include keyboard, video and mouse (“KVM”) selection via a control panel, an onboard service processor, and access to the floppy and CD-ROM drives in the media tray. A daughter card is connected via an onboard PCI-X interface and is used to provide additional high-speed links to switch modules SM3 and SM4 (described below). Each processor blade also has a front panel with 5 LED's to indicate current status, plus four push-button switches for power on/off, selection of processor blade, reset, and NMI for core dumps for local control.
Blades may be ‘hot swapped’ without affecting the operation of other blades in the system. A server blade is typically implemented as a single slot card (394.2 mm×226.99 mm); however, in some cases a single processor blade may require two slots. A processor blade can use any microprocessor technology as long as it is compliant with the mechanical and electrical interfaces, and the power and cooling requirements of the server blade system.
For redundancy, processor blades have two signal and power connectors; one connected to the upper connector of the corresponding slot of midplane MP (described below), and the other connected to the corresponding lower connector of the midplane. Processor Blades interface with other components in the server blade system via the following midplane interfaces: 1) Gigabit Ethernet (2 per blade; required); 2) Fibre Channel (2 per blade; optional); 3) management module serial link; 4) VGA analog video link; 4) keyboard/mouse USB link; 5) CD-ROM and floppy disk drive (“FDD”) USB link; 6) 12 VDC power; and 7) miscellaneous control signals. These interfaces provide the ability to communicate with other components in the server blade system such as management modules, switch modules, the CD-ROM and the FDD. These interfaces are duplicated on the midplane to provide redundancy. A processor blade typically supports booting from the media tray CDROM or FDD, the network (Fibre channel or Ethernet), or its local hard disk drive.
A media tray MT includes a floppy disk drive and a CD-ROM drive that can be coupled to any one of the 14 blades. The media tray also houses an interface board on which is mounted interface LED's, a thermistor for measuring inlet air temperature, and is a 4-port USB controller hub. System level interface controls consist of power, location, over temperature, information, and general fault LED's and a USB port.
Midplane circuit board MP is positioned approximately in the middle of chassis CH1 and includes two rows of connectors; the top row including connectors MPC-S1-R1 through MPC-S14-R1, and the bottom row including connectors MPC-S1-R2 through MPC-S14-R2. Thus, each one of the 14 slots includes one pair of midplane connectors located one above the other (e.g., connectors MPC-S1-R1 and MPC-S1-R2) and each pair of midplane connectors mates to a pair of connectors at the rear edge of each processor blade (not visible in
Two hot plugable blowers BL1 and BL2 include backward-curved impeller blowers and provide redundant cooling to the server blade system components. Airflow is from the front to the rear of chassis CH1. Each of the processor blades PB1 through PB14 includes a front grille to admit air, and low-profile vapor chamber based heat sinks are used to cool the processors within the blades. Total airflow through the system chassis is about 300 CFM at 0.7 inches H2O static pressure drop. In the event of blower failure or removal, the speed of the remaining blower automatically increases to maintain the required air flow until the replacement unit is installed. Blower speed control is also controlled via a thermistor that constantly monitors inlet air temperature. The temperature of the server blade system components are also monitored and blower speed will increase automatically in response to rising temperature levels as reported by the various temperature sensors.
Four hot plugable power modules PM1 through PM4 provide DC operating voltages for the processor blades and other components. One pair of power modules provides power to all the management modules and switch modules, plus any blades that are plugged into slots 1–6. The other pair of power modules provides power to any blades in slots 7–14. Within each pair of power modules, one power module acts as a backup for the other in the event the first power module fails or is removed. Thus, a minimum of two active power modules are required to power a fully featured and configured chassis loaded with 14 processor blades, 4 switch modules, 2 blowers, and 2 management modules. However, four power modules are needed to provide full redundancy and backup capability. The power modules are designed for operation between an AC input voltage range of 200VAC to 240VAC at 50/60 Hz and use an IEC320 C14 male appliance coupler. The power modules provide +12VDC output to the midplane from which all server blade system components get their power. Two +12VDC midplane power buses are used for redundancy and active current sharing of the output load between redundant power modules is performed.
Management modules MM1 through MM4 are hot-pluggable components that provide basic management functions such as controlling, monitoring, alerting, restarting and diagnostics. Management modules also provide other functions required to manage shared resources, such as the ability to switch the common keyboard, video, and mouse signals among processor blades.
The management module communicates with each processor blade service processor via the out-of-band serial bus, with one management module acting as the master and the processor blade's service processor acting as a slave. For redundancy, there are two serial busses (one bus per midplane connector) to communicate with each processor blade's service processor. The processor blade is responsible for activating the correct interface to the top or bottom midplane connector based upon the state of the signals from the active management module. When two management modules are installed, the module in slot 1 will normally assume the active management role, while the module in slot 2 will be reserved as a standby module. In event of management module failure or removal after the chassis subsystems have been initialized, the operation of the processor blades and switch subsystems are not affected. Thus, if both management modules are inactive or removed, the server blade system's components will continue to function, but chassis configuration cannot be changed. Addresses are hardwired for each slot on each top and bottom midplane connector, and used by a processor blade's service processor to determine which processor blade is being addressed on the serial bus.
Each of the four switch modules SM1 through SM4 has a dedicated 100 Mbps Ethernet link to the two management modules MM1 and MM2. This provides a secure high-speed communication path to each of the switch modules for control and management purposes only. The I2C serial links are used by the management module to internally provide control of the switch module and to collect system status and vendor product data (“VPD”) information. To accomplish this, the various control and data areas within the switch modules, such as status and diagnostic registers and VPD information, are accessible by the management module firmware. In general, the active management module can detect the presence, quantity, type, and revision level of each blade, power module, blower, and midplane in the system, and can detect invalid or unsupported configurations (e.g., processor blades with Fibre Channel daughter cards connected to Ethernet switch modules.) This function relies upon VPD information within each subsystem as well as signals from the various hardware interfaces or communication via the service processor protocols.
The Ethernet Switch Modules are hot-pluggable components that provide Ethernet switching capabilities to the server blade system. The primary purpose of the switch module is to provide Ethernet interconnectivity between the processor blades, management modules and the outside network infrastructure. Depending on the application, the external Ethernet interfaces may be configured to meet a variety of requirements for bandwidth and function. One Ethernet switch module is included in the base system configuration, while a second Ethernet switch module is recommended for redundancy. Each processor blade has a dedicated, 1000 Mbps (1 Gbps) full-duplex SERDES link to each of the two switch modules, and each switch module has four external 1 Gbps (RJ45) ports for connection to the external network infrastructure.
Fibre Channel (FC) is an industry standard networking scheme for sharing remote storage devices among a group of servers. Each processor blade includes a connector to accept a Fibre Channel daughter board containing two Fibre Channel ports of 2 Gb each for connection to dual Fibre Channel switch modules. The routing of the Fibre Channel signals occurs through the midplane to the Fibre Channel switch modules in slots 3 and 4 in the rear of the server blade chassis. Each Fibre Channel switch module is hot-pluggable without disruption of blade or chassis operation. The routing of the two Fibre Channel ports is such that one port from each processor blade is wired to one Fibre Channel switch module, and the other port is wired to the other Fibre Channel switch module to provide redundancy. Each Fibre Channel switch module has 2 external 2 Gb ports for attachment to the external Fibre Channel switch and storage infrastructure. This option allows each of the 14 processor blades to have simultaneous access to a Fibre Channel based storage area network (SAN) as well as the Ethernet based communications network. This completes a detailed description of the present invention.
It is to be understood that the above described arrangements are merely illustrative of the application of principles of the invention and that other arrangements may be devised by someone skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.